Organize, Share, Discover SDBN Social Media For Scientists


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  • Who are we? We’ve both spent a lot of time at the bench. My background is in Crystallography, William’s is Adult Stem Cells.
  • Who are we? We’ve both spent a lot of time at the bench. My background is in Crystallography, William’s background is on bone repair using stem cells. Why are we doing this? William and I met on twitter and discovered that we both have a passion for social media, and that scientists could really benefit. We’re going to cover a lot of topics today somewhat superficially, and hope it sparks interest in you to get started, because the only way you’ll really benefit from it is from first hand experience.
  • What do these three things have in common? All things I was able to do with social media. 1. Was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal 2. Got to meet and interview a real British knight 3. Founded my company in a horrible economy and flourished.
  • I did was able to do all of these things because we all have a lot more power these days because of our ability to get the word out and create our own destinies. There is a social media guru named Seth Godin who talks about this phenomenon, saying that ‘there are no more gatekeepers,’ meaning that we don’t have to wait for big establishments to say that we can do things. In science, this can take the form of conference organizers, or publishers of journals. For example, in 2008 I worked at a small CRO and we decided to host a drug discovery conference in San Diego. It was a sell-out success. The reason I bring this up is because I see so many people thinking that they can’t do things—they put up their own gates.
  • Once you start thinking this way, you realize that there is so much you can accomplish. Last summer when I started my company, I was frustrated with the networking events in San Diego. They offered not enough science and pure networking. I was helped out by Jason Scharf, and also by Todd Backus of Blue Horse and Trumpet. So, in October, I started the SDBN. I set up a fully functioning website in days using wordpress. I got the word out with LInkedIn and Meetup. I set up a payment system using I even used Facebook to find this venue! Long story. The point is, I was able to build all of this using social media. Now, granted, it wasn’t easy, and I still do a lot of pounding the pavement and rote tasks such as making nametags. How does this relate to you? It’s all about attitude. It’s what you see in social media, mostly with the 20-30 y.o. crowd. Start a blog. Build a network. Even little things like making business cards when you’re out of work.
  • Have white shirts raise hands
  • What is social media and web 2.0? Its an evolution of the www. I’m sure we all remember the early days when websites were a single page. Then menus came in. Then some allowed you to log in. Now, you log into websites such as amazon and they tell you what you might like. Take it to the extreme, your facebook page—nobody else in the world sees the page you too, it is 100% customized by your friends and interests, and you interact with it to make it different. I hope you’ll see tonight that all of the infrastructure used, & lessons learned with apps like Facebook can be applied to science in a really useful way.
  • OK, we surveyed you. N=about 75. You wanted to hear about LinkedIn, Science Blogs, Twitter, Social Bookmarking. ‘Other’ was kind of a mix—people want to learn how to get a job, network, etc. We’ll post the full results of the survey soon.
  • Web 2.0 and Facebook were added as baseline. You knew the most about LinkedIn and Facebook, and the least about Friendfeed. The trend was, in general, that you wanted to know more about what you already know about. So, we’re going to cover this, but we also want to cover things that you don’t know much about but that we think have real value.
  • One surprise is that you want to hear about science blogs, even though you don’t frequent them, so we’ll cover that as well.
  • OK, here’s the laundry list for tonight. As I mentioned, please interrupt us if we’re going too fast, or feel free to tell the volunteers in white shirts.
  • This is a mockup of a facebook page—we know from the survey you’re fairly familiar with this. As I mentioned, all of these apps could be used for science…
  • All the databases and tools can be used to collect and connect you to other scientists and information
  • A common saying in science is that we’re standing on the shoulders of giants. While we depend on the work of the scientists shown here, we also depend on our colleagues who are publishing papers in our area.
  • I’m including this to actually prove that I used to do real science. This is a virus that I studied during my postdoc at Scripps, and we discovered this really cool conformational change. The virus went from being spherical to icosahedral when we lowered the pH. Now, it took us awhile to understand the implications of this change. The first paper I submitted was rejected. Then, I started to really look around in the literature for shape changes & found that there were similarities to other viruses. The second version of the paper was accepted without question. It makes me wonder, what if I had had a community of virologists to bounce ideas off of during my experiments, could I have understood more and published sooner?
  • We should think about standing on the shoulders of giants as well as getting a leg up from our peers in real time. William Gunn will talk a lot more about this.
  • LinkedIn is of obvious use to many in the audience who are looking to find jobs, but what do the numbers tell us? There are LOTS of scientists on LinkedIn
  • Will do demo
  • We know you’re familiar with Facebook. If you’re like me, you’re noticing that people are updating their status’s more frequently. This is what twitter is all about!Notice I’m interacting with people here—how I met Caron Golden, Julie Wright, and William Gunn, among others
  • Twitter is like facebook, because of the status updates, but it has the advantage that you don’t have to already know the person. I have created two distinct communities—one that is San Diego based, another that is global, focused on biotechnology, for Comprendia. Have twitterers stand up.
  • Hi! My name is William Gunn and I’m going to tell you how you can use social media to organize, share, and discover scientific information.
  • Everyone knows how hard it is to keep up with the literature in your field. This graph shows a search of Pubmed, just one of the academic literature databases for the term “mesenchymal stem cell”, which is just one of the terms by which these cells are known. Even in this niche area, there are approximately 6 new papers published every day. You don’t have to read it all.
  • Social media can help. I’m going to show you how social media can help you organize, share, and discover scientific information.
  • Scientists are very organized people.
  • For keeping track of your reading, you can use social bookmarking. This is what they call a “tag cloud” and it’s a selection of keywords with which I tagged the articles I’ve been reading. A larger font means I’ve used the tag more often. You can see I read a lot about bioinformatics, biomarkers, and cancer, but since food and drink is another big interest of mine, beef, brisket, and cocktail also appear often.
  • Delicious works like the bookmark function of your browser. You press a button and the page is saved along with the title of the page and the date you saved it. Your bookmarks account can be searched and displayed by date or tag. However, because it’s social bookmarking, you also can see who else is bookmarking the same things you are. The numbers on the right show how many people have saved the same link you did. This shows you the popularity of a given link, so you can get to the best article on a subject just by looking at which search result has been bookmarked the most. You can also click on those numbers and see all these people, then you can subscribe to people who tend to save a lot of the same things you do.
  • Everyone likes to share.Sharing is what makes social media work.
  • Using a service called citeulike, which works just like delicious, but instead of saving the date and page title, it saves the journal name, authors, page numbers and so on. Here’s a group that is bookmarking papers having to do with biosensors. This group could be public or private.
  • A popular thing to do on delicious is to share with your community. I’m from New Orleans, and I watch the “neworleans” tag at delicious to keep up with what’s going on back there. Public works projects, parties, and apparently, Nascar.
  • Discovery is the third way in which social media helps you find the right information at the right time.
  • Discovery can work through co-bookmarking, like I explained earlier. I was posting articles tagged biosensor to citeulike, and other people were too. The blue links under the first item are me, williamgunn, and 3 other people and a group. It turns out that group is the Kopelman group, mentioned earlier.
  • Discovery can also work through recommendation. This is where the really cool stuff starts happening. Mendeley works like itunes, but for PDFs instead of MP3s. If anyone has used the internet radio service, this will be familiar to you. What the service does is record what you listen to and compare your listening habits to the listening habits of people who listen to many of the same things that you do. They then use that information to recommend new artists that you haven’t discovered yet. Applying this strategy to academic reading habits allows you to find interesting stuff without having to trawl through a lot of not so interesting stuff.
  • With the usage stats that are collected, you can see trends quickly. Cell, Nature, and Science are familiar to everyone, but what’s that in 4th place? It’s a new journal from the Public Library of Science which has gained readership far beyond what its impact factor would suggest because it makes all the research it published freely available to anyone, without requiring a subscription like the other journals.
  • What the article stats make available is a real-time measure of research impact on a article level, which is so much more useful for discovery than the traditional impact factor, which has a lag of two years and only works at the level of the whole journal.
  • So that’s the basic idea. Organize by bookmarking and tagging interesting stuff. Share the bookmarks and papers with your group or the world, and let interesting things emerge through the collective action of thousands of like-minded people.
  • So if you buy into all this, and you’re posting messages on facebook and twitter, pictures on flickr, links on, and videos on youtube, and you’re following other people who are doing the same thing, you may find that this stream of information is a little noisy. You might want to find something someone posted, but you can’t remember on which site. Google is no help, because it can’t search only your contacts. Friendfeed can.
  • Friendfeed is like social media glue – it takes all these different activity sources and feeds them in to one place, where you can get a page with all the activity across all your sites.
  • You can then follow your friends or colleagues who are doing the same thing, and get, all on one page, all the activity of the people you want to follow across all the sites they’ve told friendfeed about.
  • On top of all this, each item at friendfeed can be commented upon and “liked”. Facebook’s like feature was inspired by friendfeed. Comments from people in your network determine which items you see first, so the good stuff rises to the top. Your friends filter each other’s activity streams so that the most important or interesting stuff is the most noticeable.
  • Looking at the web of connections between people, you can get a sense of who’s the authority in an unfamiliar area, simply by looking at how they’re positioned in their network. I know that journalists are using this technique already.
  • So it follows that it you’d like to become recognized as an expert in your area, be a well-connected node in your network. Every item you post and every relevant tweet you send makes you more well connected.
  • I’d like to finish up by briefly mentioning that blogs are the original social network. If you’re not reading any good blogs about science, is a good place to start.
  • Here are some blogs I’ve picked, not all at, as being particularly good examples of what it’s all about. I tried to pick a selection across disciplines. I highly recommend checking out all of these.Thanks very much for your time, I’ll now turn things back over to Mary.
  • I have an evil plan to rule the world…I want you all to become more active on social media! This will not only make my life easier (get the word out, blogging for me), but will allow you all to grow while getting the word out. Magic!
  • I’ve heard people say they ‘just don’t have time’ for SM. To me, this is tantamount to saying ‘I don’t have time to keep up with the literature in my field.’ It’s become a necessity, and if you don’t act you will literally watch others move past you. They’ll hear things long before you do, will get The beauty of SM is that there is a group of people who are more than willing to help you!
  • What will social media mean for you? It really does depend on what you’re looking for, and what you put into it. I can tell you that it has meant more success for me than I could have imagined. The best way to benefit is to ‘just do it’, get started and I can promise you that you will thank me!
  • Organize, Share, Discover SDBN Social Media For Scientists

    1. 1. Social Media for Scientists Mary Canady Founder, Comprendia William Gunn Senior Assay Development Scientist, Genalyte May 28th, 2009 SDBN Networking Event
    2. 2. Tonight Web 2.0 ‗style‘ Less talking to, more interacting with Interruptions welcome White shirts—ask Q‘s
    3. 3. What is social media? Web 2.0 Use the web to interact Low-level: Amazon ‗you might like‘ High-level: Build customized community & interact Social Media uses Web 2.0 Build a community & interact via a variety of websites & applications
    4. 4. What Participants Would Like to Hear About Other (indicate FriendFeed below) 4% 8% LinkedIn Social 32% Bookmarking ( Ulike/Mendeley ) 14% Twitter 19% Science Blogs 23%
    5. 5. Participants' Familiarity with Social Media 70 60 50 40 0 (No knowledge) 1 2 30 3 4 5 (Expert) 20 10 0 Web 2.0 LinkedIn FriendFeed Social Facebook Twitter Bookmarking
    6. 6. Participants' Visits to Science Blogs 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Rarely: Less than A few times a week Daily Never Several times a day once a week
    7. 7. Outline Intro LinkedIn Twitter Social Bookmarking FriendFeed Science Blogs Summary
    8. 8. Suzy Smith Suzy Smith WALL Age: 27 Hey Suzy! Are you coming to the BBQ tonight? Status: Single Location: San Diego, CA Check this out—pics from our college days! Hey have you read this book? Status: Going to dinner with friends Interests Favorite Books Hiking War & Peace People You May Know Reading Oliver Twist Long walks on beach Marley & Me
    9. 9. Suzy Smith, Scientist Suzy Smith WALL Occupation: Postdoc Hey Suzy! Are you coming to the journal club? Area of Study: Stem Cell Biology Location: Scripps Research Institute Check this out—pics from our microscopy yesterday! Hey have you seen this paper? Status: Starting new iPSC experiment today Interests Favorite Journals Embryonic Stem Cells Cell Scientists You May Know Reading Nature Long walks on beach Marley & Me
    10. 10. Why LinkedIn? Large number of users Biotechnology: 370,000 US: 236,000 – San Diego: 15,000 – San Francisco: 44,000 – Boston: 28,000 Pharmaceuticals: 740,000 Medical Devices: 378,000 Nanotechnology: 37,000
    11. 11. What is LinkedIn ? ―Professional‖ Facebook
    12. 12. Linking into LinkedIn is a very useful website tool for your job search and career development Getting Started Create a profile Make it as complete as possible Add keywords that will maximize your appearance in recruiter searches Consider it your resume—in some cases it may be the only one someone sees Upload your list of email contacts to find people you know Get recommendations from colleagues Don‘t be shy—ask many people, as likely only <50% will have the time to recommend you
    13. 13. Linking into LinkedIn Building your network is the key You to getting the most out of 1 1 contacts contacts LinkedIn 2 2 2 You will be connected to within ―3 contacts contacts contacts 3 3 3 degrees‖ of separation to your contacts contacts contacts primary contacts 3 contacts 3 contacts 3 contacts Network grows exponentially as you add 3 3 3 contacts contacts contacts contacts Benefits of a large network You‘ll have more visibility More ways to contact potential employers More results in your searches
    14. 14. Building your LinkedIn Network Upload your email contact list & invite people Look through the connections of your connections to find others Don‘t be shy—everyone wants to build a network Look for groups to join (top Biotech groups listed in Appendix) Your alma mater(s) Your region Your interests Consider upgrading your account Search for and connect with a few ―LION‘s‖ Use your own judgment regarding how ―open‖ you are to linking to people
    15. 15. Using your LinkedIn Network Search for people working at companies you‘d like to work at/ask to connect Don‘t be shy: contact people who look like decision makers in your industry Ask to connect, for advice, or to meet Post your availability to Group discussion boards You can contact anyone who is in a group you‘re a member of! (pretty cool, huh?) Post and answer questions related to your industry of choice Ex: interested in green technology? Ask a question about top career paths in that industry Look at the LinkedIn jobs
    16. 16. Twitter Imagine Facebook status updates, only 140 character ‗Tweets‘ About you Name: ‗handle‘ Picture: ‗avatar‘ ‗Twittersonality‘ Timeline Find, Follow, & Interact
    17. 17. Twitter Very easy to create a ‗community‘ ‗Tweet‘ about something, get followed Follow those with similar interests Learn something new every hour! Twitterers in attendance tonight: @mrgunn @juliewright @carondg @rnaworld @stevescott @surfersteve
    18. 18. Twitter Basics Be yourself, but… Interact, don‘t announce ‗@user‘ will send message to user in your timeline ‗D user‘ will send private message to user Public or private timeline? Public ‗tweets‘ can remain on internet forever! It‘s all about sharing ‗Retweet‘ useful information, always give credit Ask questions, they often get answered! Hashtags are used to mark a category of tweets, e.g. #bio09 for the BIO convention Can‘t go to a conference? Look for someone tweeting about it!
    19. 19. Twitter Basics Apps (more every day) Computer Phone Twhirl Twitterberry Tweetdeck Twitterfon Twitter vs. Google? is an ideal place to search for breaking news ‗Trending Topics‘ tells you what‘s hot
    20. 20. Finding Scientists on Twitter More ‗scientwists‘ daily 457 Scientific Twitter Friends Look for @‘s E.g. Joe Scientist interacting with Jill Scientist—follow Jill Scientist too Look who‘s following who Look for Twitter links on Blogs, FriendFeed, etc.
    21. 21. Organize, Share, Discover The role of social media in science
    22. 22. There‘s too much info 2000 6 per day! Number of Publications 1500 1000 500 0 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 Year
    23. 23. Social media can help Organize Bookmark interesting sites and papers Share Many hands make light work Discover Co-bookmarking Recommendation
    24. 24. Organize with delicious Bookmark interesting sites using social bookmarking. Add keywords (tags) to aid recovery
    25. 25. Organize with delicious Items searchable by date, tag, etc.
    26. 26. Save and share on Share with your group
    27. 27. Share on delicious Share with your community
    28. 28. Discover on Discover through co-bookmarking
    29. 29. Discover on Mendeley Discover through recommendation You might also like … You like …
    30. 30. Discover on Mendeley Discover through recommendation
    31. 31. Discover on Mendeley Find hot trends fast!
    32. 32. Discover on Mendeley Find hot trends fast!
    33. 33. Social media can help Organize Bookmark interesting papers Share Many hands make light work Discover Co-bookmarking Recommendation
    34. 34. Social media is noisy Activity takes place many different places Web search doesn‘t know who‘s your friend on Facebook Friendfeed does(if you want it to)
    35. 35. is the glue Combines all your activity in one spot
    36. 36. is the glue Combines all your friends activities in one spot
    37. 37. is friendfilter Comments by people in your network determine which items you see first. The good stuff rises to the top! Unlike searches on the web, you can search only your friends
    38. 38. is expertfilter How do you find an expert not in your field? Look at the nodes in the graph!
    39. 39. is expertfilter Are you an expert in your field? Be a node in the graph!
    40. 40. Blogs are social media
    41. 41. Some great science blogs Steve Koch is pioneering the field of single-molecule genetics and has interesting stuff to say about the life of a young assistant professor. Cosma Shalizi has been blogging since before the term was coined about complex systems. Mark Chu-Carroll makes math and programming fascinating, and he works for Google. Ben Goldacre certainly fills a niche that mainstream journalists either can‘t or wont fill - that of debunking pseudoscience. Michael Nielsen‘s post on Statistical Machine Translation was written as he‘s learning, making it a perfect intro for someone else wanting to learn about the area. Though certainly not free of opinion, Bart Laws has one of the best and most accessible explanations of sensitivity and specificity I‘ve ever read, and lots more about health policy. Blake Stacey writes entertainingly about string theory (no mean feat) in his blag. Sean Carroll got 241 comments on his short post about Garrett Lisi‘s Theory of Everything, including active participation from the author of the paper under discussion, and also wrote this post about why scientists should blog back in 2006. Just about everything Ian York writes (not including the pictures of his kids) is not only accessible, but fascinating and relevant to my own work, as well. Then there‘s the Bayblab, who may be just a bunch of degenerate graduate students, but cover science news better and more in depth than all of the mainstream media science writers put together.
    42. 42. Rule the world? President Obama‘s Speech to NAS Get out of our laboratories and communicate San Diego Science Festival, mySDscience SDBN
    43. 43. I have a dream… 5K+ SDBN members by Sept ‗09 Participation Discussion Blogging/Microblogging Focus groups Charity events Break down innovation barriers Start:
    44. 44. Getting Started No time? Shortcut: Find a mentor Join FriendFeed, subscribe to email updates Etiquette It‘s not all about you It is better to give than to receive Be authentic Connect, don‘t just Collect
    45. 45. What can we do for you? SDBN Workshops SM for business Breakouts by app Tell us! Individual or Business SM Coaching Social Media To Go™ Your company, group or institution Tailored to your needs
    46. 46. Appendix Biotech LinkedIn Groups to Join Biotech & Pharma Professionals Network 28,000 Members (!) Life Sciences Opportunities in US 7,000 Members Life Science Executive Exchange 4,000 Members BIO International Convention 4,000 Members American Chemical Society 1,300 Members San Diego Biotechnology Network 200 members and growing!
    47. 47. Appendix San Diego Science Tweeps to follow re e Latest list at
    48. 48. Appendix Other Links Poll Results: FriendFeed Group: This Preso: